Members vow no U-turn in parking row

PUBLISHED: 11:05 17 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:01 04 May 2010

Photo: Helen Drake

Photo: Helen Drake

ANGRY residents fighting for parking permits in the city centre have failed in the first round of their battle. Councillors were adamant on Tuesday that they wouldn t back down and stuck to their guns - refusing to provide parking spaces for residents. Th

ANGRY residents fighting for parking permits in the city centre have failed in the first round of their battle.

Councillors were adamant on Tuesday that they wouldn't back down and stuck to their guns - refusing to provide parking spaces for residents.

They did agree, however, to review their new parking regime in six months' time and discuss residents' parking permits.

Liberal Democrats had called for a poll of householders to find out how many people would need a parking permit for the council-run car parks.

But members of East Cambridgeshire District Council's environment and transport committee dismissed the idea.

Committee chairman, Cllr John Seaman, told the Ely Standard: "We agreed to carry out an assessment in six months' time. If there happens to be spare spaces we might consider it. But I have still got a problem with allocating parking spaces to one particular set of people."

He added that, even if the council had a legal right to allocate parking spaces to residents, he couldn't see a way the council could do it when the parking spaces are paid for by ratepayers across the district.

"There are only a finite number of spaces in the city and a large number who wish to use them," he said. "We have had to strike a balance. This is a situation which will affect some local residents but - and this is not a flippant or arrogant remark - they have always been obliged to remove their cars for at least an hour a day."

Residents have been battling for weeks to get the same status as workers.

Businesses will get 139 parking permits on February 11 for workers arriving before 8am. But residents are being expected to move their cars round the city to fit in with the new time restricted parking regime.

Despite two petitions carrying 750 signatures, numerous letters and placard protests outside the council offices, including one before Tuesday's meeting, the residents face battling on.

Campaigner Chris Bent who has no parking at the Broad Street home where he has lived for 25 years, received his first warning letter from the council for parking in the Ship Lane car park this week.

Chris, who fought for the residents at Tuesday's meeting, said: "There was complete resistance to any move by the residents for permits. But the committee chairman did give us a hearing.

"The impression they gave is they certainly have no reason to change their decision. We will not be giving up. We will keep niggling away at it."

Chris told the committee: "We feel strongly that it is unfair, unreasonable and undemocratic to favour workers with a permit scheme, to the exclusion of residents in the controlled zone, who do not have anywhere else to park.

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